I tend to like Ted Nash and the musicians he travels with – Ben Allison and Frank Kimbrough, in particular.
So I was kindly disposed toward his big band essay, Portrait In Seven Shades, to start, and a few playings has confirmed my faith.
The music is obviously influenced by Ellington, Basie, Miles, Mingus, Gil Evans and other big band originators, extenders and scholars, but it wears those influences lightly. Nash does not lose sight of where he’s going in the name of where he’s been, and while there is no great innovation here, there is writing and voicing and soloing of high quality.
I am not a natural advocate of big bands, despite my utter devotion to Ellington, so the biggest compliment I can pay this recording is – I keep putting it on.
Note By Note: The Making of Steinway L 1037, a documentary about Steinway pianos. It’s piano porn for musicians and music lovers. The famous pianists who walk through and play a few notes make nice noises.